IT outsourcing and staff augmentation provide a myriad of benefits to businesses such as cutting costs, finding the necessary expertise, simplified HR activities, and delegating tasks. However, a specific outsourcing endeavour is a combination of a variety of complex factors, such as building a mutually beneficial partnership and maintaining viable interpersonal communication.
Therefore, streamlining effective and continuous delivery is a tall order.
To ensure successful cooperation, many offshore development companies provide delivery managers (billable or non-billable) to their clients. A delivery manager works closely with a client for the first months of cooperation to devise an efficient remote cooperation model and help to set up all the agile processes necessary for a dedicated development team. A delivery manager is also accountable for business processes integration, team-building activities, technology alignment, operations management, and maintaining effective communication.
Our clients often ask us about how it works, and what we do to ensure smooth delivery management across three key aspects: people, processes, and product. Thus, we’ve decided to talk with our delivery managers and feature the insights in a comprehensive overview.
First of all, we need to understand why a specific company needs outsourcing
In most cases, our clients need to cut costs, lack expertise, or their business model has some limitations. However, we need to understand what exactly is the most critical reason for a specific client, and what are their ultimate and genuine success criteria.
Yuriy Kushla, a delivery manager at N-iX
Thus, the first key to success is understanding the underlying client’s motivation to outsource software development: whether its cost-cutting, finding the necessary expertise, or struggling with HR activities and talent shortage.That means understanding a client’s business KPIs.
That’s the true role of a delivery manager: to drive the process, ask the right questions and get the right answers.
The second crucial thing is streamlining cooperation between two companies as equal partners, whose aim is achieving shared business objectives. These are the client’s business objectives plus the business goals of an offshore development company. It is worth remembering that an IT vendor’s business goals can’t be achieved without solving a client’s business goals.
Here are aspects your software outsourcing partner should pay special attention to.
How offshore development companies should manage PEOPLE
Customer Relationship Management
A delivery manager must ensure communication with a client is ongoing, efficient, clear, and positive. Also, they establish and maintain project status reporting mechanisms and build successful client relationship at different management levels. They manage customer expectations and measure satisfaction regularly, provide consultancy to a client in terms of innovative solutions, and provides guidance for difficult situations. Underlying components in this process are smart management, frank communication, and transparent cooperation. The key question a delivery manager must frequently ask is: How can we help you? And it is critical not only to listen to the answers but to hear them as well.
It’s a delivery manager’s key duty to put (and keep) the right people in the right places. And that’s one of the keys to a project success.
To monitor the process and make sure only the most qualified specialists are engaged in a project, delivery managers participate in candidate interviews and approve the job offers.
To ensure smooth teamwork, they maintain motivation, resolve conflicts, and encourage personal responsibility and self-discipline within the team.
Regarding human resource risk management, a delivery manager maintains the records with HR and follows up on retention actions. To make people stay, they facilitate specialists’ professional growth and career advancement.
A delivery manager also ensures team engagement. They keep their team informed on project status, set expectations, and do recognition. Also, they create, manage and optimize a team structure to align it with client’s needs and project goals, and approve of hiring/firing decisions.
How offshore development companies should manage PROCESSES
A delivery manager is also accountable for effective operations management. They ensure appropriate project infrastructure, suitable project-related purchases and shipments. Furthermore, they coordinate internal departments to solve project related issues (such as contacting the HR department to find necessary expertise), manage customer visits, guarantee IP protection practices are in place, support contract signing process, and participate in the invoicing process.
Delivery managers are responsible for the initiation of the inception phase and overseas delivery process on the outsourcing vendor’s side. Also, they are accountable for maintaining risk analysis and managing a project ramp-up plan. If a client needs something or someone to scale up, it’s a delivery manager’s priority task to go to lengths to help a client with that.
It’s only human to make mistakes, and it is only logical to ensure the procedures to reduce those mistakes to a minimum and to correct the existing ones timely and efficiently. That’s why we need to implement best practices. These are best practices that ensure that the right standards are followed. Regarding planning, these are the right management skills, PMI, PMP, Scrum certifications, etc. Regarding development, these are Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment practices, automation of processes, and more.
How offshore development companies should manage PRODUCT
Offshore development companies mostly work with product companies, and the ultimate target of the cooperation is timely delivery of a quality product. However, software engineers are often used to thinking in engineering terms. They constantly attend software development events, upgrade their coding skills and aim at engineering excellence. And here we can have a clash – engineering mindset vs product mindset, time-to-market vs engineering perfection. Product development is not only about flawless code, and product mindset is first of all about reaching an ultimate compromise: delivering maximum quality within a minimum time span. Thus, educating a team how to do it is one of the core tasks of a delivery manager.
How we ensure successful delivery at N-iX
We’ve been refining our delivery model for 15 years, since the partnership with our first client, Novell. As a result, we’ve shaped smooth and effective delivery processes that help our partners achieve their goals and meet their genuine success criteria. Our delivery managers have devised efficient communication patterns to continuously monitor the quality of product delivery and the level of client satisfaction. If an engineering team comes across any bottlenecks or a client needs additional expertise, a delivery manager at N-iX takes every effort to find the necessary specialists and resources within the company to overcome the challenges without interrupting the client’s business processes.
Our delivery model is tested by time. With some of our clients, we’ve been partnering for 5-10 years. And that’s primarily thanks to our streamlined delivery processes.
We put much focus on developing strong domain expertise, and that’s why we have delivery managers who are experts in fintech, blockchain, Data Science, embedded software, and other areas. This helps us better understand our partners’ technological and business objectives and offer our advisory if needed.
And last but not least, N-iX has a special entrepreneurial company culture. Every employee, including delivery managers, is encouraged to push forward their ideas and drive initiatives they are passionate about. At the same time, they take ownership and responsibility for their implementation. That is why our people are always ready to speak up and take initiative working side by side with our customers on their products. This is what ensures successful delivery and lasting partnerships with our clients.
The first key to project success and establishing successful cooperation is understanding the underlying client’s motivation to outsource: whether its cost-cutting, finding the necessary expertise or struggling with HR activities. That means understanding a client’s business KPIs.
The second crucial thing is streamlining cooperation between two companies as equal partners, whose aim is achieving shared business objectives. The third delivery manager’s priority task is to help their team reach a compromise between engineering and product mindset.
If you want to learn more about hiring a dedicated development team and streamlining delivery process, contact our specialists.